Monday, August 29, 2011

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today (Stacy Juba)

Overall: 3.4
  • Plot: 2.5/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 4.2/5
  • Believability: 2.7/5
Twenty-Five Years Ago Today by Stacy Juba

Should we dig for the truth when Pandora's Box is a coffin of buried secrets? For twenty-five years, Diana Ferguson's killer has gotten away with murder. When rookie obit writer and newsroom editorial assistant Kris Langley investigates the cold case of the artistic young cocktail waitress who was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology, not only does she fall in love with Diana's sexy nephew, but she must also fight to stay off the obituary page herself.
Genre: Mystery,
Women's Fiction
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Kris Langley, an editorial assistant, stumbles across an unsolved murder while researching old editions of the Fremont Daily News. Drawn in by the similarities to a personal tragedy, she launches her own investigation, hoping for a featured article and the opportunity to bring closure to a grieving family. Even twenty-five years after the fact.

I'm of two minds as I write the review. On the whole, I found the language to be accessible, and the storyline gripping. I was intrigued by the mystery, trying to piece together evidence and guess at the guilty party. Juba does a phenomenal job in engaging a reader's interest, focusing primarily on a fast-paced plot and her own insight into newspaper life.

In spite of this, however, my friendly attitude towards the main character began to wane halfway through the novel. Her doubts and concerns felt contrived, as did the rushed development of her relationship with Eric. I confess that I was hoping for something that was a bit more drawn out, given his wariness and her supposed emotional unavailability. Equally disappointing was the final denouement; the resolution itself was fine, but I would rather that more of the information came from Kris's investigation, rather than information-loaded monologues.

One of the strongest points of the novel is the dynamics of the newspaper staff. The power struggles are entertaining, and readers can easily sympathize with Kris as she tries to prevent skewing of the truth. More than once, I wanted to give Bruce a good verbal thrashing for his callousness and his immaturity. With that said, both Bruce and Jacqueline come across as one-dimensional, and while the author hints at a deeper explanation for Jacqueline's cutthroat attitude, this avenue is never truly explored.

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today is an enjoyable, quick read for the mystery lover who likes a little romance and family drama tossed in. Juba has a great talent for setting up a good intrigue, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

(Review copy provided by the author)

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